Kabateck Strategies

Dubious legislation in full bloom this spring

Spring is near, and the smell of ink drying on new legislation permeates the air in Sacramento. With more than 2,400 pieces of legislation introduced during this session, there are plenty of opportunities for our elected representatives to put forth bad legislation increasing taxes, mandates and burdens on small businesses.

Take Senate Bill 8, proposed by Sen. Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys. The bill would be a $10 billion sales tax on services that would apply to everything from accounting to gardeners. Hertzberg’s justification is that it would help avoid the state’s “boom and bust” tax structure. But it also creates liability for small businesses to collect the tax.

So in addition to increased costs, small-business owners would now have to train staff and update payment systems to make sure that they are accurately colleting tax on each purchase.

And then there are the bills that make you scratch your head and wonder, “What were they thinking?”

Assembly Bill 48 by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Monterey Bay, would create a statewide de facto ban on smoking by prohibiting the sale of single-use filtered cigarettes. This misguided attempt to stop the littering of cigarette butts would hit small stores the hardest since tobacco is one of their largest profit generators. And let’s remember that tobacco is still legal in California.

The Legislature seems fixated on farm animals this session. Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, is promoting Assembly Bill 49, which states that the Legislature intends to address the overuse of antibiotics in livestock feed. It doesn’t say what they will do about it – they just plan to do something, at some point. The Senate didn’t want to be left out, so Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, proposed Senate Bill 27, which requires a veterinarian-patient relationship before livestock can be administered antibiotics. I don’t know about you, but the last time I took my dog to the vet, she didn’t care who was treating her as long as she got a MilkBone treat before we left.

And finally, everyone’s favorite climate-change author is back. Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, wants to extend the provisions of Assembly Bill 32 to give the California Air Resources Board until 2050 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent of 1990 levels. Oops, did we mention that CARB’s authority expires in 2020? But why would that matter since CARB is building their empire and has already written a scoping plan through 2050.

It’s no surprise that people outside of Sacramento wonder what state legislators spend their time doing. Why not focus on issues critical to the survival of California’s small businesses? Lower taxes, reduce regulatory burdens and generally make it easier for small employers to do what they do best – create jobs. It would be a better use of all of our time, energy and resources if they did.

Source: The Press-Enterprise